Here is what the USFK commander General Brooks had to say about North Korea’s recent overtures:
Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, commander of the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK), speaks in a lecture at Seoul Cyber University on Jan. 4, 2018. (Yonhap)
The commanding general of the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) on Thursday stressed the importance of combat readiness and unity among regional powers to cope with North Korea’s recent peace offensive.
“We can be generally pleased by the recent overtures that happened. But we must keep our expectations at the appropriate level,” Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, who leads the 28,500-strong U.S. Forces Korea (USFK), said at a lecture in Seoul.
He was referring to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s New Year’s Day statement that his country is willing to join the Winter Olympics that will open in the South Korean town of PyeongChang next month. He proposed immediate inter-Korean dialogue to discuss the issue.
In a follow-up move, the two Koreas reconnected a cross-border communication channel Wednesday, two years after it was severed, and are preparing to hold high-level talks.
It represents Pyongyang’s “sincere” pursuit of reconciliation, but it may be in line with its typical strategy to keep apart five countries — South Korea, the U.S., China, Japan and Russia — aimed at weakening their power against the regime trying to win the status of a “nuclear capable” nation.
“We can’t ignore that reality,” the command emphasized during the session at Seoul Cyber University, organized by the National Unification Advisory Council, a presidential consultative body mainly on long-term inter-Korean ties.
In the face of the North’s peace gesture, he said, it’s important for South Korea and the U.S. to maintain an “ironclad and razor sharp” alliance and joint combat readiness in the event that it leads to a “negative outcome, not a positive outcome.”
He likened North Korea to the center of a palm and the five regional powers to five fingers, showing his right hand.
The North wants these five fingers to be separated but they should operate in “harmony and closely connected to one another” as a fist to create necessary pressure to cause a change in its course, he added. [Yonhap]
You can read more at the link, but I think the problem with General Brooks analogy is that two of the fingers have no intention of being part of the fist, Russia and China. It is arguable they share the same strategic objective of the Kim regime to separate the US from the ROK.